Board of Trustees Elect New Chairman, New Members & Consider Working Group Report

December 16, 2013

Clockwise from top left: Eric Hirschhorn, Monica Vachher, Kevin Slavin, Johnny C. Taylor, Jeffrey Hersch & Malcom King

Clockwise from top left: Eric Hirschhorn, Monica Vachher, Kevin Slavin, Johnny C. Taylor, Jeffrey Hersch & Malcom King

The Board of Trustees had a full agenda for their quarterly full board meeting, held on December 11, 2013, including several changes to the makeup of the Board as well as considerations of both the Working Group Report and proposed changes to the Student Code of Conduct.

The Board unanimously elected five new trustees to join its ranks, including Jeffrey Hersch (EE'87), Eric Hirschhorn (ME'89), Malcolm King (EE'97), Johnny C. Taylor Jr. and Monica Vachher. The Board also welcomed Kevin Slavin (A'95) as Alumni Trustee, having been elected by alumni on September 18, 2013. And for the first time in the history of the Board, a (non-voting) Student Representative to the Trustees sat at the table. Devora Najjar, a chemical engineering sophomore, was nominated to the position by the student body in November. Several other members reached the end of their terms including Don Blauweiss, Mike Borkowsky (ME'61), John Michaelson and Martin Trust (ME'56).

The Board leadership also saw a change when Mark Epstein (A'76) reached the end of his term as Chairman. Richard Lincer, a board member for nine years, was elected as new Chairman, with the board also electing to grant Mr. Epstein the honorific Chairman Emeritus. Mr. Epstein remains an active member of the board until 2016.

The two most-anticipated orders of business were a presentation to the full board of both the Working Group Report and the suggested changes to the Student Code of Conduct. The Working Group Report, put together by a consortium of faculty, staff, alumni and students, proposes a series of steps that the constituents believe will allow The Cooper Union to reinstate its full-tuition scholarship policy while putting it on a path of long-term financial sustainability. After discussion the Board decided to defer making a decision on whether to adopt the plan contained in the Report until the end of January in order to devote more time to considering its details.

The Board also chose to defer voting on the proposed changes to the Student Code of Conduct until after the Office of Student Affairs had worked on revisions to the language with the Joint Student Council over the winter break.

More details of the meeting can be seen on the full Board Report.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.